Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 23rd 2015 Contents | BEAUTY |
We only have one body to last us for this
lifetime, so it makes sense that we give
it a little extra help when its natural re-
sources deplete with time.
death) at worst. For those seeking less invasive
methods, there are also many choices, but this arti-
cle will deal with just one: chemical peels. It is the
most recommended treatment for one of the more
common problems here in the Caribbean: sun-dam-
aged skin. As I learned for myself, you need to be no
less prudent and thorough in your decision-making
here. ALWAYS seek professional and/or experi-
enced advice first. Otherwise you can learn the hard
way that fancy and expensive wrapping outside
does not necessarily mean nice a gift inside.
Sun damage literally results from over-exposure to
the sun's ultra-violet rays. We in the Caribbean
would have fallen victim to that as innocently as
going about our daily lives in the tropics. Others
would have achieved it from sunbathing --- and
other outdoor activities --- for hours on end without
protection. To be fair, we weren't as well informed
about the dangers as we are now.
The milder forms of sun damage are age spots,
dark/blotchy patches, freckles and deep lines and
wrinkles (the more severe, of course, is skin cancer).
Some of these conditions can be treated with peels.
There are other treatments, such as lightening
creams and microdermabrasion, which act on a
more superficial level and may take longer to show
Chemical peels use an acid solution --- alpha-hy-
droxy, glycolic, trichloroacetic, salicylic or carbolic
acid (phenol), for instance --- applied directly to the
skin, which penetrates into the top layer of cells,
causing them to dry up (scab) and eventually peel
off. There are three basic types:
• Light: A mild acid solution is used to penetrate
only the outer layer of skin to gently exfoliate
• Medium: Glycolic or trichloroacetic acid (TCA) is
applied to penetrate through the outer to the mid-
dle layer of skin to remove damaged skin cells
• Deep: TCA or phenol is applied to deeply penetrate
into the middle layer of skin (this procedure can
only be performed once).
Deep peels may require pain medication, but for
light and medium peels the slight
burning/itching/stinging sensation goes away once
the solution is cleaned off. All peels, however, require
proper follow-up care that must be adhered to care-
fully so as to minimize any risk of scarring or infec-
tion. Generally speaking,
• Light peels require 1 to 7 days to heal.
• Medium peels require 7 to 14 days to heal.
• Deep peels require 14 to 21 days to heal.
Sun exposure and smoking after a chemical peel
should be avoided at all costs. There is also still the
chance of side effects even if you're being very, very
good with your after-care, including:
• Redness --- after a medium or deep peel, redness
might last for several months.
• Scarring --- even though it's rare, a peel can cause
scarring, typically on the lower part of the face
• Changes in skin colour --- peels can cause treated
skin to become darker than normal (hyperpigmen-
tation) or lighter than normal (hypopigmentation).
Hyperpigmentation is more common after superfi-
cial peels, while hypopigmentation is more com-
mon after a deep peel. Changes in skin colour are
more common in people who have darker skin, and
can be permanent.
• Infection --- a peel can cause a flare-up of the her-
pes virus and, though also rare, can lead to a bac-
terial or fungal infection.
• Heart, kidney or liver damage --- deep peels use
phenol, which can damage the heart muscle and
cause an irregular heartbeat. Phenol can also harm
the kidneys and liver. To limit exposure to phenol, a
deep peel is done in portions, at 10- to 20-minute
If you are considering this type of treatment, make
sure you talk to your doctor or a certified skin care
professional first. Ask for recommendations for
service providers ... do not make the same mistake I
did of judging an establishment's competence by
how professional they LOOK ... looks are very de-
ceiving and the risks are very real. Feel free to email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my recom-
By Helen Shair-Singh
I RECENTLY SAW A REPORT on a US news network, saying that we are fast
heading towards a time when a woman who had not has cosmetic surgery
after a certain age will be looked upon as "not taking care of herself". Whilst I
steadfastly refuse to buy into that superficial mentality, I fully endorse the prac-
tice of taking a little more care of ourselves when we move beyond the natural
advantages of youth. We only have one body to last us for this lifetime, so it
makes sense that we give it a little extra help when its natural resources de-
plete with time. The choice of "how" is up to the individual. Healthy eating and
living should always be the first choices, but for those who want to go a step
further, the list of available options is extensive ... whatever you want to fix,
there's an 'op' for that!
If you ARE considering cosmetic surgery, though, take the time to do your re-
search and make the best-informed decision. Failure to do so can lead to great
disappointment and financial loss at best, horrifying physical damage (and even
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